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BLTA to host officiating certification course

The Nassau Guardian

 Bahamian ITF Officiating Manager Mickey Williams, left, will conduct a level one officiating certification course this month at the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association National Tennis Center. FILE

The new administration of the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) is launching its first level one officiating certification course.

The course will be conducted at the BLTA’s National Tennis Center and include participants from New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Eleuthera – a total of 32 enthusiastic individuals, 12 women and 20 men. There are 13 attendees from the Family Islands.

ITF (the International Tennis Federation) Officiating Manager Mickey Williams will conduct the course and spoke about the opportunities presented.

“This level one course, designed by the ITF, is intended for persons with an interest in officiating and others who may have done some umpiring on a limited basis before and want to expand their knowledge. The two-day program will provide a detailed introduction to the rules of tennis, the code of conduct and the procedures for overseeing competitive tennis matches,” said Williams. “It will also introduce the participants to line umpiring techniques and chair umpiring procedures. At the end of the course, the successful students will be considered ‘national officials’ and will be expected to upgrade their skills at local tournaments at all levels – junior, open and senior. They may also be called upon to provide their assistance at any international events that may be hosted here in The Bahamas. As well as students from here in New Providence, we will have participants from Abaco, Eleuthera and Grand Bahama who will participate remotely via Zoom, which will be a first for this type of program.”

BLTA President Perry Newton expressed his pleasure in the BLTA hosting this course.

“We are one of the first countries to undertake this officiating certification course post-pandemic,” he said. “We have taken the opportunity to lead the charge toward training officials, which is one of the pillars of our ‘Tennis Sustainability’ platform. During this pandemic, certain activities have been prohibited but we continued to plan and strengthen the pillars in anticipation of emerging from these times stronger. We want to train and offer these opportunities equally across all the islands so we can grow uniformly. We were able to get full representation from the island associations in Abaco, Eleuthera and Grand Bahama. Training our officials is necessary to the development of the sport and increases and strengthens our pool of eligible officials, building an environment of sustainability in the sport of tennis in the entire Bahamas for many years to come.”

The course is being offered in two segments (November 14/15 and November 28/29) with all safety protocols in place and some participants attending via Zoom. Day one training starts on Saturday, November 14, at 9 a.m. at the BLTA’s National Tennis Center inside the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre.

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